Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Transparent Like Bullshit

Transparent like Bullshit

I see a woman with three children and a disabled husband.

She has been living in emergency accommodation since April, after her eviction, and has duly completed all the Housing Benefit forms required. She has two letters from Housing Benefit saying the rent is being paid for, and that they are sending the rent to her old landlord. This is an extreme waste of money as she is not living at her old home any more.

Another letter informs her that the agency housing her is on the point of evicting her, as she owes 5 months' rent.

I call the Council, spend an hour or so explaining our client's problems, and am told that no public money has been misspent, the file was suspended all the time. I am told that the letters that she has received were “generated in error by the system”.

I see a young woman who was trafficked into the UK for domestic slavery as a child, who after a 7 year wait has the right to be in this country. She's being evicted onto the street.

She has two letters . One gives her refugee status, one discretionary leave to remain. I'm no immigration lawyer, but when the official calls you and asks you to destroy one of the letters, my alarm bells go to ultra red.

Legal Aid cuts are aimed at the work that local charities do, because they say, there is no need for knowledge of the law for our work.

I say to you, there is a chord that binds us all together. A chord of wisdom and respect, letting the elder and the child speak, letting us all speak. Justice will not be silenced. Yet if social welfare law is extinguished, ordinary people with extraordinary problems will be diddled right and left, and all of us will suffer.

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